Centegra Healthy Living Institute
877-CENTEGRA (877-236-8347)

Lowering High Blood Pressure through Nutrition

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1-in-3 Americans has high blood pressure and only 52 percent of those control their pressure within a normal range. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) define s hypertension, high blood pressure, as having a systolic pressure between 140-159 mmHg and a diastolic pressure between 90-99 mmHg. Hypertension can by caused by factors such as eating an unhealthy diet, inactivity, being overweight, stress and smoking. Chronic hypertension strains the heart and damages blood vessels; it increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney problems.

Following a low sodium diet can help manage blood pressure. Using low sodium, reduced sodium and no salt foods will help to maintain the recommendation of 1500-2300 milligrams of sodium per day. Keeping an intake log of foods containing sodium can help you identify how much sodium you consume and identify areas for improvement. Following a diet such as the NHLBI’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH diet, can help lower blood pressure by as much as 11 mmHg systolic and 6 mmHg diastolic. The plan encourages the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy/meats, while decreasing intake of saturated fats and sugar.

If you’re trying to follow a low sodium diet, eliminate or decrease your intake of the following foods:

  • Lunchmeat, including deli meat
  • Canned soups and vegetables (with added salt)
  • Dining out, especially Chinese or Mexican restaurants
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Cheese, including white or yellow varieties that are hard or soft
  • Convenience foods (TV dinners, boxed dinners/sides)

Source: Julie Holbrook MS, RD, LDN is a registered dietitian for the Centegra Healthy Living Institute.

If you’d like to learn more about heart-healthy eating, including ways to manage high blood pressure, schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian at the Centegra Healthy Living Institute by calling 877-CENTEGRA (236-8347).

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